Poll: Small Business Tax Changes

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is proposing changes to small business taxation, including limiting the ability of a business owner to pay less tax through so-called income sprinkling to family members; restricting the use of small business corporations for making passive investments such as buying and selling shares of other companies; and cutting the small business tax rate from 10.5 percent to 9 percent by 2019. In December, Mustel Group asked 300 B.C. residents what they thought of the proposals.

Very few believed the changes would help business and the economy, and there was only one demographic where more than 50 percent of respondents predicted they would would hurt small businesses and harm the economy­—not surprisingly, small business owners.

Regionally, the biggest disparity was between residents of the City of Vancouver (22 percent) and the Interior (44.2 percent) in expecting negative effects.

Mustel principal Evi Mustel notes that most respondents were members of the general population, but “we do have a small sample of small business owners, and that’s really where you see the opposition.”

Although the survey size was modest, Mustel suspects that the results would have been similar with a bigger one. “Among the general public, you can see it’s just about a third that think it will have negative impacts, a small group think it will have a positive impact, and the rest think it’s fair or don’t have an opinion on it,” she says.